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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  May 16, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT

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>> this is bbc "world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the
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crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, bbc "world news." laura: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am laura trevelyan. highly appropriate assays the national security adviser, defending the president's sharing of information with the russians. president trump: our fight is against isis. as a general mcmaster said, and i know he feels, we had a great meeting. laura: into this whirlwind comes the turkish president, complaining about america arming kurdish fighters in syria. and the city of lights makes its case for the olympic torch. but paris is facing tough competition from los angeles for
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the 2024 games. laura: welcome to our viewers on public television and around the globe. the white house is in damage control overdrive today, and that is before posting turkey's controversial leader. at the epicenter is what president trump shared with russian officials last week. his national security adviser said until he was blue in the face today that whatever he conveyed was appropriate, but one republican wants less drama in the white house. jon sopel starts our coverage. jon: this meeting with the russian foreign minister and ambassador was controversial enough, coming a day after the sacking of the fbi director who had been investigating the
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trump campaign's links to moscow. now it is revealed that during the meeting the president shared highly classified information with his guests, so sensitive that america's allies, like britain, knew nothing about it. as the white house once again scrambled to put out the fire, the national security adviser once again emerged to say that the story was nonsense. mr. mcmaster: at no time were intelligence methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. i was in the room. it didn't happen. jon: on twitter this morning from the president, a different story -- yes, it did, and so what. "i wanted to share with russia at an openly scheduled white house meeting from which i have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety." so once again, the general was sent to face the guns and change the story. mr. mcmaster: what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate and consistent with routine
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sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged. jon: the president was sticking to generalities today. president trump: we had a very , very successful meeting with the foreign minister of russia. our fight is against isis, as general mcmaster said, i thought he said, and i know he feels, that we had actually a great meeting. jon: on capitol hill, the only reaction has been fury from democrats and from republicans willing to talk, a certain exasperation and wariness. senator mcconnell: i think we could do with a little less drama from the white house on a lot of things, so we can focus on our agenda. jon: another influential republican said the white house seemed to be in a downward spiral. the president is frustrated, but it is hard to see what is going to change. the abnormal is becoming normal. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. laura: on top of all of that, "the new york times" is
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reporting that president trump asked former fbi director comey to drop the investigation against michael flynn, the national security adviser at the time. >> this is just in the new york times at the moment, but what ,hey are saying, if proven true could be serious. behind bytrail left james comey was created because "the new york times" said he perceived donald trump was trying to him properly in pd investigation into russia. there is one memo which james comey wrote, where he has written that donald trump asked hope youhis words, "i can let this go" when it comes to the investigation of links
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between michael flynn and russia . if that is proven to be true, that is serious. it would be the president impeding an investigation. is what the president's critics suspect, but they have no evidence. if it is true, it would be evidenced the president directly try to influence an investigation between his staff and russia. arey the fbi director admissible as credible evidence in investigations. at the moment, we are only having this reported by "the new times." if they are true, they are serious. laura: the white house is saying they never asked only to end the investigation. a clear denial.
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>> other members have said in recent weeks they do not believe the president has tried directly .o impede this investigation we're having this from james comey himself. that would give a great deal of credibility. laura: this is coming off a whirlwind week when the president is accused of sharing information with the russians, then trying to influence the investigation into his russian links. we have barely talked about the extraordinary thing that happened last week. donald trump firing the man leading this investigation into links between his campaign and russia. we were barely talking about that, because we were talking about potential leaks of classified information to the russians, and the implications of that. now we're back to talking about russia again. it has been extraordinary how we
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are lurching from one chaotic situation to the next. this wine, certainly, if true, seems the most serious so far. certainly, if true, seems the most serious so far. katty kay spoke with former defense secretary william cohen. he appeared on the bbc's "100 days plus" program. tty: you hear mr. mcmaster saying it was totally appropriate and he had every right to share this information. you look at what happened, how serious is for -- is this for america and the president? president should not have any apprehension of discussing it with the american people. if it was classified, it has been declassified.
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it is completely declassified. there is no reason there should be a concern on the part of the administration of having "the washington post" or any member of the press print what was there. i think they are worried about that. i think they are worried because the russians and others may be able to determine sources and methods by looking exactly at what was said. i think it is serious. i remember in the beginning i used to worry that the president wasn't reading the president's daily brief. now i'm worried that he is, and we have to be concerned about how much information he has and whether he understands what the appropriate line is to cost or -- to cross or not cross. when i was these briefings with the president, we had very strict talking points, and the notion, number one, that he would fire the director of the fbi on day one and on day to wo meet with the russians, who are under investigation, or were under investigation, by the fbi, seems to me to cross a line to say, and by the way, let me tell you something, i'm declassifying
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it now for your information. katty: put on your defense secretary hat. you were the defense secretary -- you were a republican but where the defense secretary for president clinton. if you are still running, you would be your primary concern? cohen: that we have demoralized our allies and what they go through to collect this information, i would be concerned that we have demoralized the intelligence community and what they go through to put this information together to make sure it is secure, and to have it simply either cavalierly treated as a conversation between a man and a foreign minister who moved john kerry around for 4 years without any real progress being made in syria, in my judgment, at least, and to invite him to the oval office and give him some information, which may or may not jeopardize other people i think that is pretty serious.
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katty: bill cohen, i want to take you back in history in 1973 you were a republican comes men from maine, you are one of the first republicans to break from your party and call for the impeachment of president nixon. do you think this republican party is capable of investigating this president and standing up to the president over incidents like this? mr. cohen: i have not seen evidence that there is enough support to really investigate in a serious way. i think the house was set back , and now reconstituting. i think the senate has an opportunity, and there are members of the senate i have confidence in will pursue this. and i want the president to succeed. i want him to be successful for our country. what i don't want him to do is be successful shutting down an investigation and declare i am above the law because i sit on top of the justice department and fbi and everyone else and i
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don't have to abide by the law. that was what was involved in the impeachment of richard nixon, that no person in this country should be above the law, including the president of the united states. there are limited remedies for this. i hope the president will take this under advisement in the future, that you have to appreciate the gravity of the office, the gravity of the circumstances, that every word that you utter is measured and calculated, if not to buy enemies, then certainly by our allies in the american people. i don't think that seriousness has been taken to heart yet. katty: secretary cohen, thanks for coming in. laura: katty kay speaking to william cohen. the drama surrounding president trump's meeting with the russians overshadowed today's encounter with a vital ally in the middle east. turkey's president came to the white house with an agenda of his own, but at the top was his objection to a white house plan to arm kurdish forces in syria. turkey views the group known as the ypg kurdish rebels in turkey
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as an extension of who are opposed to the turkish state. from his press conference with donald trump, here is president erdogan. president erdogan: taking ypg into consideration, the region will never be accepted and will be against the global agreement we have reached. we should never allow those groups to manipulate the religious structure and the ethics structure of the region, making terrorism as a pretext for an excuse. laura: president erdogan. and for more on his visit, i'm joshua walker -- i'm joined by joshua walker. you heard his stiff opposition to arming the kurds. it going to make any difference? mr. walker: i think it is too late. are there other national interests we can move on?
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laura: meaning what, exactly? mr. walker: when it comes to syria it is a short-term decision arming the kurds. longer-term, who is going to put syria back together again? i think turkey is looking towards russia and iran. what is going to happen in terms of the great power politics and whether a sought -- whether assad stays or goes. laura: is it possible that turkey gets something with its opposition to the u.s. arming the kurds? mr. walker: if you look at this white house in particular, they are not as focused on human rights violations or freedom of the press or things that traditionally american values have focused on. they get a free pass on certain issues but whether it is titular -- feithullah gulen or other allies as well. president erdogan comes to town on the day there is a great brouhaha about the president sharing classified information with the russians.
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what impact does that have on turkey who shares information with the u.s. about syria? if you are turkey, this is not a good place to be. in many ways in turkey, all erdogan.d to if you can develop a personal relationship with trump that he can use and leverage, he well. they chose to play this nice publicly speaking. what about when erdogan gets out of u.s. airspace? not about the principle whether turkey should or should not share information with an ally that behaves like this? mr. walker: i think he is a pragmatic statesman and is shown that through his 14 years of power and will be there for a long time. will he be able to use this in a way that will work against trump? right now, we don't see a coherent u.s. strategy on turkey. until you figure that out, it is hard to get turkey where you want it.
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in the power vacuum, i think turkey and erdogan will continue. laura: he is criticized for being a strong man but his victories in the vote in turkey. how did it go for him? mr. walker: things are overshadowed in terms of events in washington. it is important to remember where erdogan is coming from. to me it is a harbinger of what is to come in terms of turkey's future in the global space. laura: is he going to get anything out of the u.s. on fethullah gulen, that cleric he blames for the coup attempt? mr. walker: i would not be surprised if behind the scenes, that is what they're hoping for. if we cannot get the kurdish issue we want, let's go to the next place -- we think this person charged with the failed coup should be sent back. i would watch this space. laura: thanks for joining us. in other news, u.s. backed fighters in northern syria have advanced between four kilometers of raqqa. has taken five villages
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since monday and is close to encircling raqqa from the east and north. rouhani'sawal of mr. rival has been expected. both are from the moderate reformist camp. on monday the conservative mayor of tehran pulled out of the race. you are watching bbc "world news america." on tonight's program, coming together in the name of science. how scientists from across the middle east are finding common ground in jordan. facebook remains acceptabl -- accessible to thailand despite an order to block 130 pages
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denigrating the monarchy. facebook is popular in thailand. our southeast asia correspondent reports. reporter: people use facebook here for social reasons and business reasons. had the government carried out its threat to take legal action or in the case of isp, there is a suggestion they would block the social media giant altogether. it is such a big part of life there would have been a massive uproar. it didn't happen. officials from the telecommunications commission checked the situation. some of the offensive posts, many still visible on facebook, but they discovered the court facebook to give an official reason to take them prepared on time. there has to be a court order for each page, or facebook posts. 34 have been prepared and not deliver to facebook. the deadline has passed.
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we don't know if the new deadline has been set. will facebook take down all of the posts? they have taken down a great deal of content that the thai authorities say break the law here. we don't know how this will pan out in the future. critics of the monarchy, they are all outside the country, they can post material that might be considered offensive about the new king, for example. only takes a matter of seconds to post a photograph on facebook. authorities has to get a court order. it could be a facebook war of attrition. scientists from across the middle east came together in
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jordan for the opening of a new international research center. a particleproject is accelerator. it can study everything from to an intent artifacts. it is meant to encourage collaboration between countries that may not have diplomatic relations. there.hukman is david: in the dusty hills of jordan, a gleaming new research center that many thought would never happen. the sesame project brings together scientists from countries you would normally think of as enemies. the openingebrating of the new laboratory to be shared by the middle east. >> it is an uneasy happiness because i know how fragile it , is, but i still would like to enjoy the moment. david: do you think it is going to survive? >> it is going to survive. david: inside is a giant machine called a cyclotron that acts as a powerful microscope. particles are fired at high speed around the circular track
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. generating intense beams of light that reveal incredible detail with lots of uses. it can study plants in a totally new way, investigate ancient manuscripts like the dead sea scrolls, and help fight cancer. the new cyclotron will transform the search for tumors. >> you can search everything you want. you can even see things that were beyond your imagination. david: what is remarkable is that this project has been built with the help of countries that sometimes don't have diplomatic relations, or are hostile to each other. yet now that it is open, you will get iranian, palestinian, israeli scientists all coming here to do their research together. >> i'm very proud to see that this is happening, and this is the biggest event in the region, and iran is supporting this project fully.
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>> this is not going to bring peace to the middle east, but it is going to show people that they can work together on a common cause. in that sense, we are a small flashlight in the region. david: an israeli scientist close to a group of iranians. somehow they do get along. beyond these walls, the middle east remains as volatile as the -- volatile as ever. david shukman, bbc news, jordan. hoping science can overcome hostilities in the middle east. paris is hoping to cross the line first to host the 2024 olympics. los angeles is running neck with the french capital. they may both get the chance to hold the games come weather in 2024 or 4 years later. dan roan explains why. dan: he is just three days into the job, but france's new
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president has wasted little time in backing paris' bid to host the 2024 games. emmanuel macron welcoming members of the international palace.committee to the paris is spending billions on the event. >> we will transform paris with the village. after the games, the village will be housing for people. we need to build housing for people in paris. so we are very, very committed. dan: sports' showpiece event always provides magical moments, but the sight of rio 2016's abandoned olympic park raises questions over legacy and the vast cost of playing host means that games have an image problem. >> i will be in the city of angels watching the olympics. dan: despite all this, los angeles also wants to host the games.
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it's bid is privately financed. like paris, it has received glowing praise from the ifc. >> things he pointed to as problems, dilapidated buildings, cost overruns, budget issues -- those literally go away and become certain deliverables. yes, there are challenges facing . what we can do is calm the waters, and that is exactly what they need today. dan: the ifc is accustomed to being courted by heads of state, but unlike the past, this evaluation commission will decide between 2 rival cities pulled host of others out to stage the games due to a lack of public or political support. it could force the ifc into uncharted territory. whichever city loses looks set to be offered at the 2028 games, a consolation prize as the ifc considers an unprecedented two-game deal in september to avoid the risk of having no
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bids. >> it is something we have to look at. we have to figure out why our events are not as attractive as they were 20 or 30 years ago. we should always be challenging ourselves as to how we can make these events more appropriate to local communities. we do need to communicate some of those values. i'm not sure -- i'm not sure any of us have really done that. dan: this two horse race seems too close to call. paris and l.a. have posted the limits before and insisted their focus is solely on the 2024 -- posted the links before and insisted it focuses solely on the 2024 games. the ifc knows the pressure is on to find a solution that works for everyone. laura: staying with the sporting theme, the fighting race was joined by a surprise entry a , white horse. the four-legged runner jumped the fence and joined in the fun. luckily, no one was injured.
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look at the beautiful horse galloping. quite delightful. we are working on, be sure to check out our facebook page. . am laura trevelyan thank you for watching, and please tune in tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the
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island with warm sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> bbc world news was presented by kcet los angeles.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> yang: good evening. i'm john yang. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: another stunning revelation. the "new york times" reports that president trump asked james comey directly to shut down the f.b.i.'s investigation into michael flynn, according to memos kept by the former f.b.i. director. then: >> the president wasn't even aware of where this information came from. he wasn't briefed on the sources or method of the information, either. >> yang: shooting from the hip. president trump's reported disclosure of sensitive intelligence to russian diplomats in the oval office sparks a firestorm of questions, and calls by lawmakers for a full transcript of the meeting. then, amid growing tensions,

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